INTRODUCTION OF HIS MAJESTY THE KING
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
INKOSI OF THE BUTHELEZI CLAN
TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION
AND PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu;
Ambassador of the Catholic Church and Papal Nuncio to the Southern African Region, Archbishop Peter Wells;
His Worship the Mayor of Ulundi Local Municipality, Councillor Wilson Ntshangase;
His Worship the Mayor of Zululand District Municipality, Inkosi Elphas Mzamo Buthelezi;
The Bishop of this Diocese, the Rt Reverend Xolelo Thaddaeus Khumalo;
Other Bishops present; Reverend Fathers and Reverend Sisters;
The Reverend Fr Tuso Buthelezi, the Priest in charge of the KwaMalusi Omuhle Catholic Parish Church;
Deacons of this and neighbouring churches; members of one body of Christ; my fellow Christians;
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all authority is given in Heaven and on Earth. I am humbled to share this celebration of the KwaMalusi Omuhle Parish as we open a church. The Diocese of Eshowe and the Parish of KwaMalusi Omuhle are blessed this morning with an expansion of the Lord’s Kingdom.
We are also blessed by the presence of His Majesty our King and of the Papal Nuncio, who witness this celebration. It is now my duty whenever the King speaks, to present him to his people. I have fulfilled this duty many times, in many different venues. But I find myself most honoured to introduce our King when he rises to speak to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
His Majesty the King was born at the Benedictine Hospital in Nongoma. Thus, at the moment of his birth, he landed in the hands of the Reverend Sisters. From that moment on his life was influenced by the Catholic Church.
That is not unusual, for many of us in South Africa have benefitted from the presence of the Catholic Church and its missionaries. Most of my own children were born in the Benedictine Hospital, and I have been ministered to all my life by servants of the Lord in the Catholic Church. Many of the schools and clinics in KwaZulu Natal that have taught our children and healed our families were started by Catholic missionaries. They have done a tremendous amount of good in our country, for which we are most grateful.
It is not surprising then that there is a long relationship between Christian missionaries and the Zulu Royal family. When missionaries first brought Christianity to our soil in the 19th century, the King’s forebears and my own forebears, the Zulu Kings, largely welcomed them and allowed them to establish missions on our land.
Along with the gospel, missionaries brought a philanthropic spirit which prompted them to establish missionary hospitals, clinics and schools. Our history of colonialism casts a shadow over the good work accomplished by many missionaries in Africa. But their legacy in our own country can still be seen in these churches, schools and hospitals, which serve some of the poorest of our people.
This service to the poor resonates with me, for I believe that the poor hold a special place in the heart of God. After all, Christ Himself lived and ate with the poor. He was moved by their plight and tended to their needs, both physical and spiritual. He performed miracle after miracle for those who had no means of paying Him, and He did so never asking for reward. He was a balm to their soul, because His goodness was evident not only in word, but in His every deed.
When I consider the vast ocean of need in my own country, at this present moment, I know that we need followers of Christ to express His goodness through actions. I was touched by the words of the Holy Father Pope Francis earlier this month, when he declared a world day dedicated to the poor. He seemed to sum up the plight of South Africa so accurately. I would like to read a part of what he said –
“Tragically, in our own time, even as ostentatious wealth accumulates in the hands of the privileged few, often in connection with illegal activities and the appalling exploitation of human dignity, there is a scandalous growth of poverty in broad sectors of society throughout our world. Faced with this scenario, we cannot remain passive, much less resigned. There is a poverty that stifles the spirit of initiative of so many young people by keeping them from finding work. There is a poverty that dulls the sense of personal responsibility and leaves others to do the work while we go looking for favours. There is a poverty that poisons the wells of participation and allows little room for professionalism; in this way it demeans the merit of those who do work and are productive. To all these forms of poverty we must respond with a new vision of life and society.”
With these words, Pope Francis set aside the 19th of November as World Day of the Poor. He called on us all to respond to the poor with deeds, rather than simply words.
I agree with his message wholeheartedly, for I believe that the Church must shine its light before all mankind, so that the world might see the goodness of the Lord. I still clearly remember the message Pope Francis delivered in Rio de Janiero in 2013. Speaking to a gathering of youths, he called on them to “hagan lio!” – “make a mess!” He said, “Let there be plenty of noise. I want you to make yourselves heard… I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable… everything that might make us closed in on ourselves.”
This indeed is a good response to the suffering, hardship and trials of the world. Our faith must be active, expressed through deeds. It must be seen and heard.
I thank the Lord Almighty for blessing our nation with a King who understands this truth. His Majesty our King leads by example when it comes to assisting the poor and the vulnerable. He does not simply speak about food security. He farms his land so that people will see how important it is to produce food. He doesn’t simply speak about moral values and discipline. He presides over ceremonies and festivals that entrench these values in our nation. In the world in which we are relying more on prophylactics, our King has an annual Reed Dance, which he holds to encourage our young maidens to remain chaste before marriage.
We are grateful to our King for leading with wisdom, particularly when it comes to the poor. I remember listening to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI when I visited Rome in November 2009 during the three day World Summit on Food Security. The Summit was debating hunger in Africa and His Holiness was very outspoken about the world’s incapacity to feed all its children. These were concerns we certainly shared.
I was honoured to have a private audience with His Holiness during that visit. He was the third Pontiff I had met. In the eighties, I enjoyed a private audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. We in fact met twice. And in 1971, my wife and I travelled to the Vatican to meet with Pope Paul VI.
That was a wonderful meeting, for His Holiness had visited South Africa as Cardinal Montini, when he had opened the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto. This church became one of the theatres of our liberation struggle. He therefore understood the suffering of our people under an oppressive regime, and he told me to tell my people that he suffers for us.
These moments with the Pontiffs of the Roman Catholic Church lifted my spirit and encouraged me to keep going in the most difficult times. I was encouraged again last year when I received an apostolic blessing from the Holy Father Pope Francis.
Although I worship in the Anglican Church, I believe that we are one body, and I appreciate the leadership and service provided by our largest church, the Church of St Peter. I think of our Lord who called Himself the Good Shepherd. The flock is large and diverse, but we all know the voice of our Shepherd. That, more than anything, unites us.
It is wonderful to know that the patron of this Parish is Umalusi Omuhle; the Good Shepherd. We know that we are all under the authority of the Lord Himself. We therefore pray for His guidance, for us and for our leaders. We pray that His hand will be upon His Majesty our King. May He direct our paths.
It is my privilege now to introduce our Monarch, the King of the Zulu Nation.